Darkestville Castle (Console Edition) Review
We have been causing a bit of mischief this week at 3-Bit as we joined Cid the Demon on a playthrough of the Point and Click Adventure Darkestville Castle, which released on consoles. Darkestville Castle released a while back on PC and was met with a positive reception, but how well has the game ported on to console from PC? Does it keep the charm of classic point and click adventures? This Review will tell all as we explore the charming town of Darkestville in this review.
When I booted up my PlayStation 4 to Play Darkestville Castle I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of gameplay, would I be seeing a revolutionary way to play a point and click, which could be full of potentially flawed commands, or would it be as simple as using new buttons and the analogue stick to control everything? Thankfully for Darkestville Castle, it was the latter, bringing back the feel of classic point and click games. There were no fancy gimmicks or tricks to speed up the gameplay, instead, the game could be played with just the analogue stick and the X button. There were a few shortcuts available for inventory and hints, however with the inventory being so easy to access from the main screen the shortcut was hardly necessary and in some cases could take just as long, due to the cursor speed, which when even at max speed felt a bit sluggish. When it comes to selecting objects with the cursor on a controller it feels just as good as it would with a mouse and if it wasn’t for the sluggishness of the cursor on screen I would say I preferred the gameplay elements with a controller, as I was able to play the slow-burning adventure more comfortably on my sofa, rather than at my desk. Darkestville offers all of the typical gameplay aspects you would expect in a point and click game like this or the classic Monkey Island games. There are puzzles dotted across all of Darkestville, which involve talking to the many colourful “people” of Darkestville, finding “pointless” items you can collect, and combining these items with other items and various parts of the environment around Cid. Most of the puzzles will make you feel quite smart as you solve them, this is mostly because a lot of your tasks are spelt out to you by NPC’s. But some of the tougher challenges can give you a great feeling of accomplishment, especially the ones that are so easy that you bypass the obvious answer and spend a good few minutes chasing your tail. If you want to further the challenge further you can try to play the entire game in “Cat Mode” where all talking and text changes to meows, and whilst this would be a hilarious way to confuse your housemate or partner if they go “AFK” while playing the game. Cat Mode does get annoying very quickly however and I found myself reverting to the standard mode very quickly.
In the dark town of Darkestville Cid awakens one night to cause some chaos, but it is all interrupted by the nefariously nerdy demon hunter Dan Teapot. With a night of mischief ruined Cid traps him in a cage only to learn that real demon hunters are on their way and mean business. However, with Dan trapped and Cid now able to walk freely the hunters raid Cid’s home and mistake Cid’s giant pet piranha for the demon they were supposed to capture. Cid is infuriated by this bold move by the hunters and vows his mischief. This witty and rather funny introduction sets the tone for Darkestville Castle. Each interaction is filled with quick quips, little lies and some rather hilarious shenanigans that are reminiscent of what you’d expect to see in a Tim Burton animation. The story is overall quite in-depth, as each NPC has a lot to say, and with Cid being the towns mischievous demon there is a lot of backstories to be learnt, such as how he plans to feed laxatives to the town's pigeons, or how he cut the braids from the Hamesons Daughter’s head. Cid’s antics are relatively harmless and as such make Darkestville Castle a family-friendly game for everybody to enjoy. As the story progresses you will see new areas unlock, which in turn unlocks more NPC’s. some of the NPC’s are normal humans who hold a bit of a grudge against Cid’s past shenanigans, whilst others are quite otherworldly, and bring some very unique personalities to the game, such as 3 stoner looking demons who only want the “Good Stuff” known to you and me as diseases. The unique characters and the funny story makes for a worthwhile adventure back into this incredible 90s Genre, however, the jokes as expected in a game about a demon revolve around low toned humour and dark humour, so may not appease to all audiences.
The soundtrack to Darkestville Castle is slightly lacking in the showmanship expected to go hand in hand with the games attitude and comedic sense. Rather than being jaunty and quite upbeat, the music was more Halloween ambience. On the opposite side of things, the voice acting for the variety of cast members is spectacular, especially when you consider the majority of it is all done by one man Stefanos Rex. Rex does an amazing job alongside his fellow cast members, as they brought each character to life each with their own unique tone and accent, making Cid and the residents of Darkestville feel like it was performed by a much larger cast than it has.
Graphicly Darkestville Castle is relatively polished when it comes to the graphics. Whilst Darkestville Castle is a 2D sidescroller the perspectives are done well enough to give the town and other locations a 3D feel. The art design is also a great addition to Darkestville Castle, from Cid’s messy room with a random odd sock, right down to the beaches and taverns found throughout the game everywhere feels like the environment is supposed to represent, albeit in its own quirky way. Along with well-designed environments, the game also features well-designed characters, with a lot of variances to the games NPC’s appearance. Each NPC also gives brings their own characteristics to the game with the actions they make as you stand to explore for clues, such as the demon hunter Mongoose, who will be rather comedically be stabbing the air with his appearance. Overall a lot of effort has been put into how Darkestville Castle is brought to life through its graphics and artwork, which in turn bring a lot more value to the overall feel of the game.
Overall Darkestville Castle is a game I thoroughly enjoyed playing over the last week, and whilst there were some irritating puzzles and fetch quests I did find that throughout it all I was enjoying myself, laughing at Cid as he communicated with the residents of Darkestville, tried to flirt with a foxy lady and as he tried to pull off a variety of shenanigans all to take back what was his. Darkestville Castle is a game I would recommend to anybody who is a fan of the classic point and click adventures. The game itself lasts around 8 hours in all, which is Ideal for those who want something a bit shorter to play and with its £11.99 price tag it is definitely worth picking up as a more quirky addition to your collection.